documentary recommendation–joan didion: the center will not hold

Quite a few students asked me about watching this 2017 Netflix documentary on Joan Didion. One of my favorite writers and I enjoyed the film. Fascinating to see personal interviews as well as to hear excerpts of some of her iconic essays.

documentary recommendation: trudell

One of my favorite writers, activists and speakers. John Trudell: It has been, literally, the most blood thirsty, brutalizing system ever imposed on this planet. That is not civilization. That’s the great lie – is that it represents civilization. That’s the great lie. Or if it does represent civilization, and that’s truly what civilization is,Continue reading “documentary recommendation: trudell”

little mocos a novel in stories–book soundtrack–parts 1 and 2

Put together a quick listing of song titles I think work with each chapter of my book. Saw a few other writers I admire do this and so I thought I would try. More and more I like the idea of a movie-style book soundtrack. And I am finding this a fascinating exercise. Many ofContinue reading “little mocos a novel in stories–book soundtrack–parts 1 and 2”

inside llewyn davis and the mobius strip narrative

Teaching a film as lit class this term and spending some time this week closely studying Joel and Ethan Coen’s pre-Bob Dylan period film Inside Llewyn Davis. I am particularly interested in the themes of crisis and purposeleness. I also like the feel that the narrative is a mobius strip trapping the main character. I am seeingContinue reading “inside llewyn davis and the mobius strip narrative”

podcast recommendation: code switch–race and identity, remixed

Highway driving this summer and enjoying the fairly new Code Switch podcast. I also enjoy the written articles posted on NPR Code Switch site. Primarily enjoying the article on digital divides between Latino and Anglos.

podcast recommendation: this american life episode 562–the problem we all live with

Episode 562 This American Life–The Problem We All Live With I’ve lived and taught in the Midwest for ten years now and have yet to fully understand the place and the people. After the Michael Brown shooting and the Ferguson riots, I found this incredible episode of This American Life on Michael Brown’s school district–the worst district inContinue reading “podcast recommendation: this american life episode 562–the problem we all live with”

documentary recommendation: the untold history of the united states

Peter J. Kuznick’s research translates well to this Oliver Stone directed series of hour-long documentaries. I found myself admiring the post-structuralism historical mode as well as the well constructed mix of photographs, film footage and news reels.

last tuesday at the movies

Went to the movies last week. I should’ve been grading or obsessing over the part time instructor evaluations I was supposed to be writing up. But I went to the movies instead. Don’t always spend time during the week taking time to watch movies but I did. And I don’t regret it. I wish IContinue reading “last tuesday at the movies”

quick thoughts on kubrick and the unsayable

Lately I’ve been obsessed with Stanley Kubrick films. I mention The Shining in class quite often to my students and how it represents an incredible example of psychological dread built into a narrative. A slow and constant ratcheting of tension. (I find myself mentioning films in general quite a bit in creative writing regarding matters of narratology.)Continue reading “quick thoughts on kubrick and the unsayable”

quick note on the three burials of melquiades estrada

Had some time to watch The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada this weekend. I’ve been meaning to watch more Latino themed films for the blog. I admired Guillermo Arriaga’s screenplay which I read won best of at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. I enjoyed the fractured sense of time and how we see the same eventContinue reading “quick note on the three burials of melquiades estrada”

jacqueline dougan jackson interview

Jacqueline “Jackie” Dougan Jackson is the author of over a dozen books, including three about the family dairy farm in Wisconsin that her grandfather began at the turn of the 20th century. The Round Barn, volume one, is at the culmination of years of dedicated collection, research, and synthesis using family materials, historical sources, andContinue reading “jacqueline dougan jackson interview”

mary gaitskill lecture notes

A few weeks back I typed up some notes from Amy Hempel’s workshop I attended. I found my notes on Mary Gaitskill’s portion of the workshop and finally had the chance to type them up. I remember she was intense but I got some good notes down on how workshops can be “imperfect” she lecturedContinue reading “mary gaitskill lecture notes”